Monday, January 25, 2010

The Montgomery County Accent

As many of my readers know full well, I am a Texan. However, my accent is not very strong because my mom had a strong influence on my use of words and how I would say them. This story is about what I have noticed over the past 11 years here in The Woodlands and Montgomery County.  We have a large population of country folks here. As in other Texas counties, there is pride in being a part of the region, and an accent goes right along with that pride. Not necessarily conforming to English grammar rules is also part of a Texan accent.  Words like "ain't" and double negatives are perfectly acceptable "I don't take to no part of rustling them cows, mind ya!".

In Montgomery County and nearby counties, the accent typically has an embedded rise of pitch near the end of some sentences. This is an amazing phenomena to me. It is distinct and comes from the horse country of this and nearby counties. It is the language of fences, where two or three are gathered together to talk about their horses.

Today I met my new Dental Hygienist. She is a gem of a person who has this distinct accent. We talked a while about horses. She was a champion of bare back open country racing a few years ago in this county. She knew her dental stuff very very well. I think I am going to keep her a secret, because everyone would want to go to my dentist when they find out about her. (just kidding - if you are looking for a very good dentist with super nice staff and don't mind a little drive, I will share my gems of the country).    

Watch for this accent. It is different than other parts of Texas. I don't hear a drawl in it, but you might.

As I left the office, the young lady said to her co-workers "He likes my accent". Yep I do. I bet many other people feel the same way!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Concert tonight to benefit Haitian orphans

From 5-9pm this evening (Friday, Jan 22, 2010):

The Woodlands will host a benefit concert, “Give Hope to Haiti”. The event will benefit The Hydrate Hope Project, a clean water project of two relief organizations based in The Woodlands, I Am Change and Real Hope for Haiti, an orphan care and rescue center.

Funds raised from the “Give Hope to Haiti” benefit concert will be used to rebuild damaged facilities at several orphanages in Haiti, provide food supplies for children, repair broken water wells throughout the region and implement a bio-sand filter production project.

The benefit concert will feature live entertainment from Aaron Ivey, Matt McCloskey and Gatlin Elms, as well as bands from Austin and Nashville. The event is free and open to the public, however organizers request attendees make a monetary donation towards the relief effort.

The concert is an immediate way for The Woodlands and Market Street to help,” says Jenny Taylor, activities coordinator for Market Street – The Woodlands. “We have some terrific bands booked.” Taylor adds Market Street tenants also are getting involved in the event. Jasper’s, for example, will host each entertainer during the benefit concert.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Commentary 2009

The Woodlands Commentary recorded about 35000 visitors in 2009. That is a continued 50% growth without advertising, as we broadened our subject matter while keeping in close touch with the Woodlands community.

We added
(1) A Spanish translation option. Although not exactly correct to a native Spanish speaker, the result is readable to a person who knows no English at all.
(2) A weather channel, mostly because of local issues and the lack of good precipitation data. I coupled this with weather spotting training so that in the case of a severe weather system, the community has another person who can help with spotting tornadoes.
(3) An internal search for articles. It got to be too much trouble to index everything manually. An article on any given subject matter can also be found through search engines in the internet, but the method provided here will easily find an article without searching through the world of internet information.    

We expanded our definition of The Woodlands to nearby areas when there is something interesting to write about. There is no plan to expand beyond that level. Regional parks and day trips are of interest and will continue to be a focus of the Commentary.

This past year has been a big one. It is truly amazing what changes occur in just one year. The political transition from governing associations to the new Township has been a big change. As we start this new year, the village associations should play a more important role in representing residents due to the huge reduction of governing residents in the Township. Coming up? The election in May - we need people in the local government who are willing to spend a lot of time in the job and have the savvy to deal with business issues. The Township is a business - our business! I hope to write more about this in the coming weeks.

All in all, the Commentary continues to be a local resource of information and opinion. I do not investigate the financials of individuals and do not criticize nor seek action against any individual. However, I do seek political candidates who seek to help the community while being smart with out money. Maintaining value and our quality of life while minimizing taxes is what we need. Governing is giving. Candidates who want to help the community will give their time and effort, sacrificing part of their lives for our benefit (and their benefit also as a resident).

Happy New Year to my readers. I hope you the best in what appears to be another economically stressed year,

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Running in the Houston Marathon

Running is what those in The Woodlands Running Club did today, like almost always. 123 members participated in the Houston Marathon event which started and ended in downtown Houston. 78 members competed in the marathon, 40 in the half marathon and 5 in the 5K. The first wave on contestants fired off at 7AM (after the handicapped entries). Our weather was perfect for a runner and spectator alike - clear and nippy. There were plenty of spectators, many more than last year.

The Woodlands Running Club tent in support of its members at the Houston Marathon. Shown left is current president  Bill Dwyer. John Laskowski is in front of the tent. Randy Smith & Micah McGee in the background. Juliee Sparks to Bill's right. The club will have a post run party this evening.

Marathon winner, Teshome Gelana (Ethiopian) near the finish line.

Runner-up contestant

First lady to finish, Ethiopian Teyba Erkesso .

Now this cowboy did it in style. How would you like to wear a white dress shirt and long pants with a cowboy hat on a half marathon? You could easily discern that he was enjoying himself! Looks like something a Woodlands resident would do, or not? I am told his name is Bill. His time was great, but what Texan wears running shoes? OK, so my boss outlawed running shoes at work. Maybe I am a bit sensitive about that subject right now. Boots it will be. Still, this guy did not have any wrinkles in his shirt. There is something basically wrong with this.

Lady in the foreground is completing the half marathon race (13.1 miles). She is moving to the rhythm of the music. The guy behind her is a professional runner completing the marathon (26.2 miles). Compare the two expressions. They departed at the same time and arrived near the finish line at the same time.

Greeting family members is a regular ritual. One guy runner kissed his spectator wife near me on the sidewalk. She said that was a good excuse to rest, but she was grinning from ear to ear - she loved it! A lady runner also came to her partner and kissed him. He was not quite so enthusiastic about the gesture. Recognition of effort and accomplishment - that is what it is about. You run for sport, social contact and health. The word for the feeling derived from and during the running of a marathon or half marathon exceeds my vocabulary. You hope for family support and most get it, as evidenced by the large spectator crowd with posters and yelling at the top of their lungs for their runner to recognize that they were there for him or her.

Finally, do you think you cannot run a marathon or a half marathon? My special "tip my hat" respect goes to this young lady in the half marathon. Look at her grimace as she sets her determined effort into the last part of this race. Her time was not that bad either! She came in about 1/2 hour after my daughter finished her race. And by the way, my daughter ran an excellent time. So think about it. I started at the age of 63 after witnessing a similar effort by someone else. What is holding you back?